Parasitoid inventarisation of European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis Hübner, 1796) and options for its biological control in Slovenia
European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis) (ECB) is an important maize pest in central and northern Europe. Presently it is controlled by insecticides or biological agents such as Trichogramma brassicae in several European countries, excluding Slovenia, where the pest’s pressure is highly variable and no appropriate mechanization is available. Lessening the dependence on chemical pesticides is an integral part of the European Union’s agenda for agriculture. Mass release of Trichogramma spp. could be seen as a promising alternative for ECB control in countries with a highly fluctuating ECB pressure and no mechanization for insecticide applications. However, no records of naturally occurring hymenopteran parasitoids of ECB exist in Slovenia. To address this important under-researched topic and provide the expert basis for potential introduction of ECB egg parasitoids in Slovene maize production, a systematic inventarisation programme of ECB parasitoids was launched in 2010. Additionally, ECB flight was monitored in 2011 and 2012 at two locations in Slovenia: Jablje and Rakičan. In both locations two ECB generations were observed. ECB was fist observed at the end of May in Rakičan. During the five years of the systematic survey we discovered two ECB parasitoid species. ECB egg masses were parasitized by Trichogramma brassicae, whereas ECB pupae were parasitized by Tycherus nigridens, with 6 or 7 % parasitation rate, respectively. T. nigridens represents a new taxon report for Slovenia. We conclude that there is a strong need for undertaking systematic surveys of natural enemies of agricultural pests.
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